Subscribe Why Walk When You Can Ride? | BLOG | Andrew Levkoff

Why Walk When You Can Ride?

Celtic warriors were in a hurry to get to the battle. Click 'Read More' to view the entire post.

Celtic chariot

Apparently, the Celtic tribes who fought Julius Caesar in Gaul preferred to hitch a ride to their battles. Two men rode in little more than a woven basket on iron wheels. Although shock absorbers were a thin
celtic chariot 2
g of the distant future, the basket was suspended by ropes, not fixed to the axle. The driver sat up front and a warrior stood behind him. While the disruption, noise and fear caused by dozens of these vehicles criss-crossing through infantry lines was considerable, most of the actual fighting was done once the chariot arrived at its destination. "Drop me off at the battle, Sid," or Celtic words to that effect, must have been heard frequently.

Here's what Julius Caesar has to say about them:
"Their manner of fighting in chariots is as follows: first they drive in all directions and hurl javelins, and so by the mere terror that the teams inspire and by the noise of the wheels they generally throw the ranks of soldiers into confusion. When they have worked their way in between the troops, they leap down from the chariots and fight on foot. Meanwhile their charioteers retire gradually from the battle, and place chariots in such a fashion that, if the warriors are hard pressed by the enemy, they have a ready means of retreat to their own side."

My guess is the Romans had a great deal of respect for Celtic charioteers. After all, the most popular sport in Rome, even more than gladiatorial combat, was chariot racing. Celts, as many of us know from watching Braveheart (except for that end bit; I couldn't watch - even Mel Gibson couldn't put in the movie what they actually did to William Wallace), made a blue dye from a plant called woad with which they dyed their skin. They also had a penchant for hanging the severed heads of their enemies from their saddles. It seems remarkable that the Romans, whose style of fighting was far more disciplined, were able to prevail against such a ferocious enemy.

Publius Crassus, Marcus' son, was able not only to subdue the Celts he fought in Gaul, but to bring 1,000 of their cavalry with him to fight with his father in Parthia. Their loyalty to the young Roman was unquestionable. They most likely left the chariots behind, as you can imagine how useful they'd be in sand.

Thanks to: and,,,
blog comments powered by Disqus